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Why the PCB industry is not impacted by China-US trade war and the decline of cellphone demands?


EEFOCUS news on September 2nd . In the context of China-US trade war and the decline in cellphone sales, Taiwan Printed Circuit Association (TPCA) released data on the PCB industry in the first half of the year, showing that the industry has reached a new high over the years.

According to the production and sales data released by TPCA for the first half of 2019, the PCB industry of Taiwanese enterprises (in mainland China and Taiwan) was valued at about US$9.3 billion (appr. NT$288.2 billion) in the first half of 2019, a slight increase from comparing the same period last year, setting a new record.  

63% of Taiwanese PCB companies are located in mainland China, it is estimated that the annual output value of these companies in 2019 will be US$21 billion.

According to TPCA, although the China-US trade war was chaotic and unclear, and the global smart phone and car market continued to be depressed in the first half of 2019, the PCB industry of Taiwanese enterprises (in mainland China and Taiwan) still keep the increase. Advance shipment by downstream customers due to the worry about the deterioration of China-US trade, high growth of ABF carrier board and rigid-flex board, and increased PC shipment are main contributions. 

However, TPCA also pointed out that influenced by the decline in cellphone delivery, the demand of BT carrier boards has been greatly reduced, resulting in their overall output value falling the first half of the year, with an overall growth of -0.2%. As communications products and automotive electronics were affected by the global industry prosperity, FPC and HDI boards saw a decline of 5.6% and 2%, respectively, against the too high base-period value presented in last year.

As for the second half of 2019, TPCA observed that there would be still more negative news and that there would be considerable challenges for output to exceed the size of the same period last year. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the World Bank and other organizations have all lowered their 2019 global growth forecasts.

In terms of smart phones, according to TPCA, 4G is coming while 5G is not fully prepared, consumers have delayed the time to change their phones due to the expectation for 5G products. It seems that waiting period for the next generation of products will be longer than originally expected. There are still many technical barriers and challenges such as high reliability of materials and products in switching to 5G products. This period is a key moment for PCB industry to prepare for the new business opportunities of 5G.

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